And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume XII, Number 27 July 12, 2009
In this issue:
God commanded the nation of Israel to respect the aged: “You shall not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling block before the blind, but shall fear your God: I am the Lord” (Lev 19:14). And again, “You shall rise before the gray headed and honor the presence of an old man, and fear your God: I am the LORD” (Lev 19:32). In the New Testament we are commanded to “honor widows” and to speak respectfully to older men (1 Tim 5:1-3).
Any who willingly and thoughtlessly mistreat and dishonor the aged show contempt for God as well as a shortsighted view of life. There are godly reasons why we are to show respect for the aged.
1) By showing respect for the aged we show reverence for God. Read Leviticus 19:14, 32 again. In both verses, you “shall fear your God” forms the basis of showing respect for the old and the feeble. When one mistreats and sins against the aged (whose hearing and sight are diminished) he forgets that it reflects upon how he treats God, the Giver and Sustainer of life. On the Judgment Day the King will say what we do (or do not do) to others is how we treat Him (Matt 25:40, 45). It is God who gives life to us all and who sustains us even to old age (Isa 46:3-4). By cursing the deaf or hindering the blind one ignores the call of kindness; the call to treat others as we wish to be treated (Matt 7:12). We do not love God if we do not love those who are older than us (cf. Mk 7:6-13).
2) By showing respect for the aged we learn to be patient. Patience is sorely needed, and our time spent with the older generation is our chance to grow in it. Yes, you can walk the stairs faster than the old person who is ahead of you, who seems to struggle with each step. You think to yourself, “Get out of the way so others can go on!” Yes, your eye sight is 20-20 and can see the menu at McDonald’s quickly. You think to yourself, “Why is it taking him so long to read the menu?!” Why not rather show patience? When you must wait on the older person, do so with consideration and kindness, remember that the older person you are waiting on today was once young like you. Instead of being impatient toward the elderly, reach out and help them. Respect does that.
3) By showing respect for the aged we gain perspective. There is nothing new under the sun. You will be old one day if God continues to bless you with life. Your hearing will fail and your eyes will dim. How will you want to be treated then? Better to learn wisdom and show respect for the aged instead of pushing them aside to please yourself at their expense.
God does not cast off His people in old age (Psa 71:9). But, He will cast us off if we do not give honor to whom honor is due (Rom 13:7). Do not cast off the aged; honor and respect them.
A friend just identified a brilliant red ornamental bush in a photo of Debbie and me as a burning bush (euonymus alata). (His knowledge of botany was impressive!)
Even more impressive than the fiery red display of euonymus alata is the burning bush of Exodus 3:2-3. A real bush burning with real fire that was not consumed; what a “great sight”! It got Moses’ attention, and it should get ours, too.
The burning bush reminds us of the presence of God. God was present as He spoke to Moses from the midst of the bush (Exo 3:4). God could have made His presence know in another way; but on that occasion He used a burning bush. He had previously made His presence known through visions and dreams (Gen 28:10-22; Heb 1:1). Even as God’s word announced His presence to Moses, His inspired word announces His presence to us today (Heb 1:2). God is everywhere, seeing and knowing all things. “‘Am I a God near at hand,’ says the LORD, ‘And not a God afar off? Can anyone hide himself in secret places, so I shall not see him?’ says the LORD; ‘Do I not fill heaven and earth?’ says the LORD” (Jer 23:23-24). Jonah learned that man cannot flee from the presence of God and His will for our lives (Jonah 1). Do not run from God’s presence; run to Him and abide with Him in Christ (Matt 11:28-30).
The burning reminds us of the holiness of God. Because God is holy, all who approach Him must do so in holiness (symbolized by the removal of shoes, Exo 3: 5). Christians stand on holy ground, communing with God. Thus, God calls us to “come out and be separate…and touch no unclean thing” to be received by Him (2 Cor 6:17-7:1). We must be holy “in all our conduct”, because God is holy (1 Pet 1:15-16). We cannot live in the presence of God if we are living in sin.
The burning bush reminds us that Scripture is the word of God. Concerning God’s message to Moses from the burning bush, Jesus said, “have you not read what was spoken to you by God” (Matt 22:31-32; cf. Acts 7:31). But, those Sadducees did not “know the Scriptures” and as a result, twisted them to suit their false teaching of no resurrection (Matt 22:29). Get the point: Jesus said God is speaking to you when you read the Scriptures! One cannot successfully claim faith in Jesus while rejecting what the Scriptures say. To reject the Scriptures is to reject the very word spoken to us by God. Moses tried unsuccessfully to resist the word of God by offering excuses why he was not the one to lead Israel out of Egypt (Exo 3:11-4:17). But, God had spoken. If we resist God’s word we will not succeed, either. In faith we must fully submit and humbly obey (Matt 7:21-23; Lk 6:46).
The burning bush reminds us of the deliverance of God. God was about to free His people from their bondage (Exo 3:7-10). Israel’s deliverance foreshadowed God’s deliverance of sinners from sin’s bondage by the blood of Christ. Sinners are “freed from sin” when they “obey from the heart” the gospel (Rom 6:17-18). Salvation by “faith only” is false; obedience from the heart is the occasion when God will “see the blood” and forgive sins by the blood of Christ (Exo 12:12-13; Rom 6:3; Acts 22:16; Rev 1:5). Faith that obeys is faith that saves.
The burning bush teaches us lessons of truth and holiness. Let us remove every defilement of sin and obey God “in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph 4:24).
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: 1 Thessalonians 2:1-6
1. We must remain committed to the “simplicity that is in Christ”, 2 Cor
I. SIMPLICITY OF TRUTH, Rom 10:5-10.
Absolute Truth: He Lived on Earth, Jno 1:14 (Lk 2:52; Acts 10:38;
II. SIMPLICITY OF SALVATION.
Powerful to Save Sinners from Spiritual Death and Wrath, Rom 1:16-17.
III. SIMPLICITY OF AUTHORITY.
Supreme/Final Authority over Mankind, Matt 28:18; Acts 3:22-23
1. What place and position do you give God’s truth in your life:
Half-hearted… contempt…rebellion…full devotion?
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Matthew 13:31-33
1. In previous parables Jesus has discussed the growth of the word of God in
the heart of man (Matt 13:18-23) as well as the growth of sons of the
kingdom in the world as they are surrounded by the sons of the wicked one
(tares, Matt 13:24-30, 36-43).
I. THE GROWTH PROCESS OF THE KINGDOM, Mark 4:26-29.
First Sowing the Seed, Mk 4:26 (Lk 8:11); Matt 13:19; Mk 4:20; 1 Pet
1:22-23; Rom 10:17; 2 Pet 3:17-18.
II. THE OUTWARD GROWTH OF THE KINGDOM, Matt 13:31-32.
A. From a
Small Beginning to Great Increase, Acts 1:8; Rom 1:25-26; Col 1:23 (cf. Dan
2:34-35). Acts 8:4; cf. 17:6.
III. THE SPREADING INFLUENCE OF THE KINGDOM, Matt 13:33.
Permeating Influence of the Kingdom, Rom 12:1-2 (Gal 5:7-9).
1. Kingdom would spread and fill the earth as word of God was planted in
The Running of the Bulls
One man was gored to death Friday at the annual running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain. It has been almost 15 years since the last death occurred during this annual spectacle. Nine were also injured. (“1 dead at Pamplona bull run; first death since '95”, usatoday.com)
One is made to wonder why anyone would try to run alongside 1,200 pound bulls on cobblestone streets. It is not too smart. Some do it after they have consumed enough courage from a bottle to engage the beasts. They may have not planned to run with the bulls, but the alcohol helped lure them in. Truly, “wine is a mocker, strong drink is a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise” (Prov 20:1).
Then there are those who plan to run the bulls. They prepare for it, excited at the chance to test their moxie in the face of snorting bulls, whirling horns and charging huffs. They live for the adrenalin rush. I’m sure they get it.
Which leads to this one point: the nature of temptation and sin are much the same as the running of the bulls (1 Jno 2:16). The lust of the flesh and the lust of the eye present sin as dangerous, exciting and stimulating (Heb 11:25). Sin appeals to the pride of life with its lure of invincibility: it convinces us we are stronger, wiser, and faster than we really are.
We must not run with sin or sinners: “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful” (Psa 1:1). Instead of running with sin and dying eternally, God warns us to “flee youthful lusts” (2 Tim 2:22); “flee fornication” (1 Cor 6:18) and “flee from idolatry” (1 Cor 10:14). Let us wisely run after “righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness” (1 Tim 6:11). Bulls can kill when provoked; sin always kills those who run with it (Rom 6:23).
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 07/13/2009
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA